I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of stories by Rayne Hall! The author has a gift for creating atmosphere in each and every story that lends to the whole creeping effect. An example of this would be the following snippet taken from the story 'The Devil You Know':
An empty coke can rattled across the concrete, a crisp wrapper rustled along the track, and somewhere in the distance, a motor whined.
The stories weren't overly scary in the blood-and-gore sense but were rather chilling and creepy like a well-told ghost story told around a camp fire. All the stories were great but the stand-outs, in my opinion, were:
Take Me To St Roch's Never Leave Me Scruples Through The Tunnel I Dived The Pandora Druid Stones Only A Fool
Again, all the stories were wonderfully written and I enjoyed them immensely! I will definitely be reading more by Rayne Hall.(less)
I've reviewed several short stories by various authors of Untreed Reads Publishing and My goodness! Untreed Reads Publishing has been putting out some winners! The latest masterpiece is Mr. Elkins and the Zombies of Elbert County by Thom Adorney. This is not your typical zombie tale nor is it horror in the classical sense. The author instead focuses on the horror of facing the realization that a loved one has joined the ranks of the undead. That in itself is what makes zombies so utterly terrifying to me. The thought of being eaten alive is horrifying enough without having to deal with the thought of loved ones shuffling about in decomposing bodies. *shudder
Mr. Adorney takes this thought and runs with it in this touching and humorous story featuring a cast of characters that will stay with you long after the story ends. From the calm and sensible Mr. Bell to the trigger happy Dwight, the author presents a tale centered around the reactions of the townspeople to the zombies rather than the zombies themselves. And the ending? Simply Perfect.(less)
When I was a young girl, one of the first movies I can recall is one where Martin Sheen plays a mentally unstable man who takes a post-Exorcist Linda Blair hostage. The name of that movie is Sweet Hostage and I do believe that this is where my love for dark erotica began. You see, while many might have seen Martin's character as some type of monster for abducting the young girl - I saw him as misunderstood, tortured, sick...and Lovely Linda was his medicine. With that said...
Thank you, Skye Warren, for reminding me of this awesome movie and of why I fell in love with this genre!!! I had so many feels while reading this book!!! So many that I wasn't sure how I would be able to write this review without feeling like I was just rambling...which I might end up doing so bear with me.
Evie has always led a sheltered life. And by sheltered, I mean her overly-protective mother has attempted to bring Evie into her world of mental illness and hold her captive there. I was so glad that the author did address the issue of mental illness in this book and made it so painfully real in how it not only makes a prisoner of the one who suffers with it but those who silently watch as their loved one sinks deeper and deeper into the hold of depression and anxiety while trying not to get caught in its grip as well. Very hard to do and understand unless you've either done your research well or had a personal encounter with it.
Evie decides that if she stays with her mother - she'll more than likely end up like her - and so she leaves home. A very brave thing to do for a young girl whose only had contact with less than five people in her lifetime. While traveling, Evie stops at a hotel for the night and grabs a bite to eat at a diner where she meets Hunter, a truck driver, who insists on paying for her meal. Now Evie may be sheltered but she's far from stupid and right away she knows something is up and declines to let Hunter pay for her meal. Her instincts are confirmed when the waitress tells her, "There are some men you don't say no to".
Hunter is one of those men.
Not taking no for an answer, Hunter abducts Evie and the two make their way across country on a journey where they both learn about the other and the healing power of forgiveness.
This novel was so brave to me! So very brave! At first, I was a bit on edge while reading because I know that dark erotica can be a hard genre to delve in. While most romance readers were introduced to the genre by such authors as Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and Johanna Lindsey whose novels often featured forced seduction, nowadays many readers cry foul and are outraged at any sex scenes that remotely resemble a rape or consent of a dubious nature. To those readers I say: Don't let your political correctness mess up my good time, ok? I was convinced novels featuring this theme were a thing of the past until I came across Keep Me Safe by Skye Warren. I was giddy with excitement. Then I read Trust In Me and I knew I would never pass up a Skye Warren title again! By far my favorite with Wanderlust running a very close second! I kept waiting for the author to 'apologize' or make excuses for the sex scenes between Evie and Hunter and if she did - I missed them. Instead of coming up with something that seemed like rape...only not...Skye Warren instead allows the reader to look inside the head and heart of the victim and the perpetrator to see behind the reason for their actions. In short, hurting people hurt people. There were no excuses for the things Evie suffered at Hunter's hands yet there were no excuses for the pain Hunter had endured. Yet they both found a way to exist with their hellish circumstances. Exist - not live - because it isn't until they encounter one another that the two begin to really live.
Now the sex scenes are not the main focus of this novel at all. No, this story is driven by the developing romance between Evie and Hunter. And oh what a romance it is! So complicated, so heart-wrenching! A true emotional roller coaster filled with such poetic and meaningful phrases as:
"But life can take us to crazy places. I like to think things turn out for the best, you know? No matter how we got here."
He was my ship in a tempestuous sea. I was the talisman he kissed before a storm.
"I absolve you."
I found myself reading certain paragraphs over and over again, allowing myself to get caught up in the emotion of the scene that played out on the page before me and in my mind. And then there was the line that BROKE ME:
He looked back, his gaze hard, "I didn't scream, Evie. I prayed."
Oooh, I had to put my Kindle down and walk away! Compose myself before I could go back in, folks! I kid you not!
And Hunter - you psychotic, tortured and oh-so complex beast of a man...how I adore you! How I would give anything to hear the rumble of your 18-wheeler behind me and the squeal of your brakes beside me. I just want to squeeze you into heart-sized pieces and keep you close to me forever and ever. *le swoon
I would also like to have lots and lots of angry sex with you followed by lots and lots of makeup sex with you.
Wanderlust by Skye Warren is definitely a keeper and one I will be recommending to anyone who'll pause long enough to listen! (less)
I love men. Men with tattoos? Even better. Dominant men with tattoos who seductively suggest spanking my bare bottom into submission? Sign me up for that good time and call me happy!!! Anthony is my ideal of a good time!!! Really. This short story (about 37 pages) is all about a good time - there is no romance contained within these pages. None. No declarations of undying love here - it's all about uninhibited physical pleasure at the hands of an experienced and dominating male.
He smacked her ass hard, but his voice was soft, relaxed. "I didn't tell you to move your hand, did I?" Another slap.
"No," she said even as she lifted her ass to receive the slap. She put her hand back where he wanted it. "Please, I want to come." When he delivered another slap, she added a breathless, "Sir. Please let me touch myself, Sir. Please Sir."
Anthony smiled, fucking her hard and fast. Her breath came unevenly as she closed her eyes and turned her face away, whimpering. She was close.
"Come for me, Maggie," he said, "touch yourself and come for me."
Smokin'! I loved the sex scenes! Anthony and Maggie were the perfect Dom and Sub combination. Shy and timid at first meeting, Maggie quickly warms up to Anthony's touch and blossoms into a sexually confident woman who enjoys her arrangement with Anthony to the fullest. Highly recommended quick read!(less)
You know that company policy that states that work computers are not to be used for personal use? Well Janie discovers that there's a reason that policy is in place when she decides to jot down her kinkiest fantasies involving her boss and finds herself blackmailed by the subject of her desires. She's to be his for a weekend or he'll send a mass email out to everyone informing them of Janie's 'dirty side'.
So what's a girl to do when a gorgeous, powerful man - and he's a billionaire to boot - demands that you spend a weekend with him acting as his own personal sex slave? Ummm...you pack your bags! Or maybe that's just me. Bound by Him by author Elle Spencer is a hot, sexy read involving a hero that I found myself lusting for within pages of reading! Victor Rainard is so totally alpha! I was amazed at how he quickly became one of my favorite heroes - it usually takes at least a novel before I give my heart away - but Ms. Spencer does such a great job at putting together the perfect dominant male in a few pages. I wanted to know more about this man who hid his emotions so carefully, who treated people like mere 'things'.
"I plan to fuck you the minute we're in my limo so I thought it best we have this portion of the talk out of the way. See, Janie, you're something I've wanted for a year and I won't wait any longer."
"Someone," she corrected. "Not something."
I'd let her believe whatever she needed to. I collected things and I wasn't looking for long term. Just a night, possibly a week. Nothing more.
The story is written from the POV of both the hero and the heroine and it totally works for this story! I mean, I had a great time reading this book! I really enjoyed it! The sex scenes weren't too heavy - light BDSM involved - and were satisfyingly steamy. The only thing that kept this from being a five-star read to me was the HEA. I know, I know - the point of reading romances is for the HEA but it was just a bit too tidy for me. However, this won't prevent me from reading the other books in this series or by this author.
All in all, Bound by Him is recommended for those who like a little 'kink' in their romance!(less)
The only thing that could have made this short read better is if it had been longer!!! Yet to have added anything at all to The Clearing of Travis Coble by Jonathan Janz would have been an injustice! I know! I know! That makes absolutely no sense but there are no words adequate enough to describe the feels I had while reading this tale! I will say that immediately after finishing this story - I went on Amazon to look up every title by this author!
Okay, enough with the exclamation points. The Clearing of Travis Coble starts off by introducing the reader to Dick Myers, a college professor hoping to make a name for himself - and keep his job - by interviewing the infamous Travis Coble. Years ago, Coble was put on trial for the possible murder and cannibalization of his family members. Although he was found innocent of the charges, the community that Coble lives in still views him as a killer.
Myers sets up an interview with Coble under the pretense of wanting to know how the community's treatment of him after the trial has affected him. Of course, we quickly find out that Myers has an ulterior motive for wanting to meet the mountain man many have deemed a monster. Myers isn't a very likeable character - at least not to me. Yet I couldn't help but feel for him because he seemed to have this sense of desperation about him that made his less than straightforward dealings with Travis almost excusable. I found the character of Travis Coble to be so intriguing! I wanted to know more about him - his background, the inner workings of his mind. I wanted to know about the man who stood on trial and what shaped him to become the man who Myers met in the mountains. Intrigued is the word I would use to describe how I felt right up until the end of the story and then - BAM! I promise you - I thought I knew what was coming but the author does such an amazing job of keeping the reader on edge that I was hesitant to say "I told you so". However, when Myers discovers the truth behind the Coble case....maaaaan, it was truly terrifying to me! Like I was mentally saying, "Noooooo!!! I wasn't ready" (Kevin Hart voice). I so wanted the author to do a do-over because what Myers had to face was at the top of my nightmare list. Seriously.
I'm a mom. A reader. A reviewer. I have no professional publishing experience whatsoever. Yet I can almost guarantee that if Jonathan Janz decided to take Travis Coble and feature him in a full-length novel (or two or three...) - he would be making a very sound career move AND would earn himself a spot on this reader's coveted "Must-Read" list! Reminiscent of Texas Chainsaw Massacre done literary-style, The Clearing of Travis Coble is a must-read for horror fans!(less)
There are a few titles I would definitely recommend to any woman looking to improve her dating situation as well as her life: "Why Men Love Bitches" by Sherry Argov, "He's Just Not That Into You" by Greg Behrendt, and "Act Like A Woman, Think Like A Man" by Steve Harvey are among my top recommendations. Adding a spot among those titles would be "The Power of the Pussy" by Kara King.
First of all, I absolutely love the title! It basically sums up the message that the author wishes to convey to women in her frank and explicit style! Reading this book was like sitting down with one of my girlfriends - the one who doesn't hold back and gives it to you straight! Mrs. King reminds women of the power of their femininity and encourages them to use it to get the love they not only want -but deserve! The language is explicit but the message is clear - stop settling! Life is too short and time is a precious commodity that shouldn't be wasted on a man that doesn't value you.
The author includes links to various resources to aid the reader in areas which she might need a bit of extra motivation in such as building up her self-esteem, songs to empower you on your journey to getting the love you deserve and so on.
Although I didn't agree with everything the author said, I agreed wholeheartedly with the message: women have been selling themselves far too short and the 'game' won't change until we do by first acknowledging the power our femininity gives us and then fully embracing it. As a single mother of five girls, this would definitely be a title I would encourage my daughters to read before they venture forth into dating. As with any and all self-help or self-improvement titles, take what you want out of it and use it and the rest - put on the shelf or toss away. However, if nothing else - this book will give you a fresh new look at the dating game and definitely provide you with 'food for thought'. (less)
I admit that there is something a bit twisted about me and my idea of romance. Dark erotica, forced seduction, ravishment fantasies - I love them all. I suppose that is why Obsession by Paige Bennett appealed to me so much.
Obsession tells the story of a messy love triangle between the beautiful Blanche Paradis, a free woman of color, her lover Bart and a mysterious aristocrat by the name of Lucien. Lucien is seriously obsessed with Blanche. I'm talking about full-on busting up in the dressing room, snatching her up and bending her over while declaring "Mine!" obsessed. When Bart goes away, Blanche gets restless and recklessly plays with Lucien's body and already disturbed mind. It was one night that cost Bart his life and Blanche an eternity of pain. I emphasize eternity because Lucien is immortal. By the time Bart and Blanche come to this realization, it's far too late.
So this is where this review might get weird for some because - well, I loooved Lucien! Sure he was bat-ish crazy in his obsession with Blanche but I just found that whole "Mine!" thing so hot! He was a man in total control of himself - as evidenced by his confrontation with Bart - except when it came to Blanche. Then he just lost it! He had to have her and nothing and no one was going to stand in his way! Not even the woman herself! I found it all rather romantic.
I loved that Blanche was a woman of color because I find that when it comes to historical romances or tales of erotica - the genre is sorely lacking in its fair share of heroines of color. Although it might be conveyed by some as a tad sluttish, I give Blanche kudos for scratching her itch with the dangerously seductive Lucien St. Claire. A woman who knows what she wants in the bedroom - if only for a night - and goes after it is my kinda gal. I'm not condoning her infidelity because in the end it cost her the love of her life so there were very dire consequences for the choice she made. I'm just saying if I were in her stilettos, I might have made the same choice.
Don't judge me.
There is no HEA to be found here. For anyone. That kind of put a damper on the story for me. But I suppose there is a moral to be found in this short yet very satisfying read: For Every Decision Made - There Is A Consequence To Be Paid. (Originally Reviewed for Blackraven's Reviews)(less)
How We Came To Be by Jamie Canosa may very well be my first Young Adult read. Correction: it is my first Young Adult romance. I don't count The Hunger Games because, well, the romance between Peeta and Katniss kind of took the backseat to the whole "fighting for your life" theme.
I tend to be very apprehensive about reading Young Adult novels because I find it rather unnerving when I read about or even observe teens engaging in what I believe to be adult-like behavior (ie. tangled tongues, grinding hips, shagging, etc.). Even after being badgered non-stop by my teenage daughters, I still refuse to budge on my stance on watching shows such as Pretty Little Liars and the like because there is nothing appealing to me about watching two teenagers go at it in a hot and heavy shower scene. Of course when I was a teenager, I'm sure said scene would have me giggling, blushing and swooning but as a mother of teenage girls - not so much. I say all that to say this - if the 'love scenes' in most YA are handled as beautifully as the ones in How We Came To Be, I fear I may have missed out on some amazing reads and have some catching up to do as I open myself up to a new genre.
Seventeen-year old Sara has a secret. Sadly, it's a secret that takes place in many homes. Sara and her younger sibling, Kevin, suffer abuse at the hands of their alcoholic father, a man left bitter after his wife abandons him and his children. Sara takes the brunt of the abuse since she often stands up for her brother. The only spot of sunshine in her otherwise dark days comes in the form of Ethan Harris, the school heartthrob who has had a crush on Sara since he's first laid eyes on her. Unwilling to expose Ethan to her broken life, Sara keeps him at a distance until an incident occurs that forces Sara to share her secret with the one person she's tried so hard to keep it from.
Ethan was such an amazing guy, in my opinion. I could only imagine the difficulty of his position - caring so much for Sara that he couldn't bear the thought of her enduring what she did and yet unable to intervene because he didn't want to betray her trust. I could just feel his anguish and utter helplessness. He possessed a maturity that I thought was well beyond his years and if there were any couple that I wanted to have a HEA - it was Ethan and Sara. The tenderness and care he showed towards her was so touching. This is a clean romance in that there are no actual sex scenes however, the intimacy these two shared by a simple caress or a meaningful look was so endearing to me. So very sweet.
A fairly quick read that deals with an all too-real issue, How We Came To Be is a must read.
The Portal by Christopher Allan Poe starts with a bang and doesn't let up! It's non-stop action with every turn of the page. Vivian Carmichael is on the run from her estranged husband who's went from merely dangerous to downright demonic. Thrown into the mix is a hired hitman who has served the Carmichael family for years and law enforcement agents - it's hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys in this terrifying thriller.
Vivian is the type of mother I fancy myself to be. I am a loveable sort of gal with a big heart and a welcoming nature but if you mess with my babies - I will break out a level of crazy that will will make your nightmares seem like a happy place. Hello! Vivian was the ultimate "mother bear" when it came to protecting Cody from his deranged father.
Christopher Allan Poe creates an array of characters that took me on an emotional roller-coaster ride. Eco-friendly skinheads. A cold, cruel hitman with a sense of class. A best friend who defines the true meaning of loyalty. And who could forget Leon the security guard?
"Nobody's going to kill anyone," Leon said. "Isn't that right, sir?"
"It doesn't matter." Jarod turned to her. "Sooner or later, I will find you.
"I said isn't that right, Mr. Carmichael?" Leon shined the flashlight directly at him.
"Get that fucking thing off me."
"He's not going to do anything sinful."
Leon moved the beam back to the floor. "Because he knows that me and Jesus go way back."
"I'm not paying you to-"
"And he also knows that me and Jesus used to fuck people up. Men much more powerful than he is, so we're not afraid."
Ha! I was done! Leon was the man! One minute I'm laughing and cheering him on and the next minute - waterfalls. Curse you, Christopher Allan Poe. Curse you.
As I read The Portal, I found myself likening it to Jonathan Maberry's Ghost Road Blues. Although the two stories are as different as night from day, there was something eerily familiar about the character of Mr. Vincent. For some reason, he reminded me of the character of the Boneman - only a whole lot older with a large heaping of evil. Mr. Vincent was my favorite character in the story. My only issue is that I never quite understood who or what Mr. Vincent was exactly and what his mission was except that he wanted to cause a great deal of mayhem and shed quite a bit of blood. His relationship with the Carmichael family, especially with Jarod, was never made clear to me and that left me feeling a bit unfilled by the close of the novel. Just a bit.
Larger-than life characters, vivid imagery and moderate gore makes The Portal a morbid read that will delight many a horror fan. Definitely a recommended read!
I absolutely LOVE the story of Beauty and the Beast! It’s my all-time favorite fairy tale and love story so I’m always quick to pick up any book with...moreI absolutely LOVE the story of Beauty and the Beast! It’s my all-time favorite fairy tale and love story so I’m always quick to pick up any book with this plot. With that said, I was uber excited when I came across A Modern Wicked Fairy Tale: Beauty by Selena Kitt.
Jolee finds out that her husband Carlos was involved in the death of her father and confronts him about it. Instead of giving Jolee a heartfelt apology and a dozen red roses, instead, Carlos orders his men to take Jolee into the woods and kill her. On the way to carry out the task, the trio are involved in a car accident that leaves the thugs dead and Jolee seriously wounded.
Enter Silas. Silas has been living in the woods alone for years after a fire leaves him disfigured…and a widower. While hunting in the woods, Silas comes across Jolee unconscious and bleeding. He decides to take her to his home and nurse her back to health. When Jolee finally awakens, she soon discovers that she and Silas share a connection that threatens to destroy them both.
I really enjoyed the story of Jolee and Silas. I did feel, however, that Jolee’s husband Carlos was more of a beast in nature than Silas. Silas was kind and caring – you couldn’t help but fall in love with the way he looked after Jolee and tended to her every need while she recovered. Because he continues to feel guilt for failing to protect his wife, Silas initially is afraid of allowing himself to get close to Jolee. I felt that the face mask that he constantly wore while in Jolee’s presence was used for more than just hiding his disfigurement from her. I felt it was symbolic of an emotional wall that he kept erected between them. What a joy it was when that wall came down!
A Modern Wicked Fairy Tale: Beauty contained some VERY hot scenes . Selena Kitt can indeed put together steamy and erotic love scenes! However, I found myself more intrigued by the way these two characters slowly grew to trust and eventually love one another more than by just their physical interactions.
Although I wouldn’t place it in my top favorites of Beauty and the Beast re-tellings, A Modern Wicked Fairy Tale: Beauty is an enjoyable read that will not disappoint. (Originally Reviewed for BlackRaven's Reviews)(less)